How One Brand Uses Corporate Culture To Maximize Productivity

How One Brand Uses Corporate Culture To Maximize Productivity 640 480 C-Suite Network

by Steve Olenski

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“Culture is infectious — it’s viral, and it’s central to accelerating your business. When you have a unified team that is rushing towards a common goal, you will create rocket ship trajectory. Every industry leader needs unbounded exponential growth to succeed in today’s world.”

The above is a quote from a gentleman named Wehuns Tan who happens to be the CEO of Wishabi — a Canadian technology company that could be the poster child for illustrating the importance of corporate culture in maximizing productivity in the workplace. Founded in 2007 by four ex-Microsoft engineers, including the aforementioned Tan, the company is a leading retail technology firm that has reinvented the digital circular experience through its dynamic circular platform.

What They Do
The four founders knew that circulars are an $18 billion-a-year industry, yet retailers were still relying on the traditional paper circulars to drive shoppers to their stores. In recognizing the need to completely overhaul the circular industry and bring it into the 21st century, they created a next-generation digital circular platform that creates a dynamic and personalized experience for the consumer. The company works with 40 of the top 60 retailers in the U.S. and more than 90 percent of the top retailers in Canada. Retailers such as Walmart, Target and Macy’s can be found on the platform. Through the company’s vast distribution network, Wishabi connects retailers with over 220 million consumers monthly.

Wishabi’s Corporate Culture
At Wishabi, corporate culture is at the center of the organization and the glue that connects all functions of the business. It accelerates business processes and increases efficiency and productivity. Their culture is based on a set of core principles that are centered around the individual, such as being hungry to reinvent, as well as principles pertaining to the business, including an entrepreneurial spirit and having a passion to invest in the growth of others. If you recruit properly for cultural fit, you will create a team that is sustainable for the long-term. The company utilizes a stringent methodology to test for principles in the hiring process to ensure cultural fit.

The Numbers Don’t Lie
In 2014, Wishabi was named one of the Best Workplaces in Canada by the Great Place to Work® Institute. The award was based on an employee survey. Results showed 95 percent of employees said it’s a great place to work, 98 percent look forward to coming to work and 97 percent said management is approachable and easy to talk to.

The Connection Between Corporate Culture And Productivity
Productivity is about driving the best results. Rather than a polarized culture, having a cohesive corporate culture will exponentially drive an increase in business output and results. When employees understand the core principles of their company, they have context for decision making, business priorities and overall approach. Team members understand their purpose and how they are contributing to the company vision. A cohesive corporate culture lends to high-trust teams working towards a common goal together.

It enables:

  • Fluid and unified communication
  • Efficient decision making
  • The ability to quickly identify and solve problems
  • The ability to iterate and adapt at a faster rate
  • Break through corporate and political barriers
  • Clear accountability
  • Ownership (team members will jump in to help)
  • Cooperative instead of combative teams
  • Reduced team conflict
  • Empowerment
  • Authenticity
  • Agility

This environment then leads to an increase in productivity based on efficiency, the ability to accelerate business output and a “unified rush” towards a common goal: the company mission and vision.

Blueprint for Success
It starts with the leadership. Team members want strong leaders, and they want to stand for something. Leaders need to invest the time in defining, developing and sustaining a winning corporate culture to successfully compete in today’s world. Each company must determine what makes them successful and be true to themselves. Look at the DNA of the founders and high performers and what makes them succeed. Define your principles, which will make up your corporate culture.

Over-communicate your principles throughout the organization. This ensures employees understand the backbone of the company and always have context for decision making, strategy or a change in business model. Have a rigorous methodology for hiring for cultural fit and skills. Train a large team of interviewers to assess alignment of principles. Use a very thorough, scenario-based interview approach, and test for culture in multiple interview rounds.

Culture must be measured and tied to performance including incentive systems. This will create accountability across the board. When fostering your corporate culture: be authentic, be exclusive rather than inclusive, stay true to your principles and never compromise on culture.

*This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.


Steve OlenskiSteve Olenski was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. Steve is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book “StumbleUpon For Dummies.” He can be reached via LinkedInGoogle+, Twitter @steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.

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